The simplest toy

Our first grandchild, Grady, figured out how to work this toy right away.  I snapped his photo on my lap in September, 2013

Our first grandchild, Grady, figured out how to work this toy right away.
I snapped this photo of him on my lap in September, 2013

“The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent.” Sam Levenson

There are colorful toys, singing toys, funny toys, educational toys, old-fashioned toys, and toys that wear out quickly.  Grandparents are all of the above.  Every child should have at least one or two – hopefully more!  If your child doesn’t have any, don’t fret – as with all well-loved toys, you can borrow someone else’s.

Today I wish you many happy thoughts of your grandparents, grandchildren, or both!


  1. Larry

    What a thrill for great-grandmother to see Grady at 5am in the morning. The video of that hand-eye coordination is wonderful also. She is patiently waiting to hold him in her arms for the first time at Andy and Victoria’s wedding.

    • Larry, I think he looks a good bit different now than he did then – they grow so fast! I bet he is even cuter now.


    Love this post! Congratulations, Julia!

    Sent from my HTC smartphone on the Now Network from Sprint!

    • Thank you! I’m so happy you enjoyed the post. I certainly enjoyed taking the photo!

  3. re: “Every child should have at least have one or two”; being at the top of the birth order, I enjoyed four for quite a few years. Then, when the number dropped to three, the missing grandparent became a mystical giant of a man – who did, or was able to do almost superhuman feats. That phenomenon became even more intense when the number became two! By the time the number had decreased to only one, I was sad to realize that grandparents were really just ordinary people — people like you or me.

    • Yes, and I think what is most sad about that realization, is the understanding of how much they might have needed the same amount of attention from us as they lavished on all their grandchildren. Re: the “mystical giant of a man” – sadly, I have only very vague and indirect memories of our paternal grandfather, aside from the family stories of his Chiricahua mother, his childhood in the west, his three sisters in California, his service (as a very young man) in the Spanish-American war, and his show business career. What I remember most is having some sort of lovely toy (I think it was a plastic plate with a clear bottom and plastic sea animals floating inside) and Mama telling me it was given to me by my grandfather “because he loved me.” I also remember you telling me “he had muscles like Popeye!” So he was even more of a mystical character to me!

  4. Mike Bertoglio

    That is a great pict and a great quote. My little guy is 8 months old today.

    • Wow, congratulations! Isn’t it amazing how quickly they grow, especially at this stage? How often do you get to see him? I wish we could see Grady more. When Drew and Megan first told us about the baby being on the way, it was right after we found out Jeff had 2 different cancers and the second one had spread to liver and lungs. I remember feeling happy but also sad, knowing we were unlikely to be able to see much of him due to all the treatments that would be going on. It does help having lots of photos.

      • If you have a photo you’d like to share, I’d be happy to post it here!

  5. MaryAnn

    This is a great photo. When I watched the recent video, it thrilled me to see Grady respond so happily to his mom’s voice! The quote you used brings to mind something Paul said years ago. We were at a function where most of the people were new to me. I was engaging the young children & we were having much fun playing together. A friend of Paul’s asked where I had met these children. Paul told him I did not know them and that:
    “she is a wind-up toy for children”. It is an accolade I cherish.

    • Mary Ann, I remember that funny quote from Paul, and truer words were never spoken! I just love it! In fact, I should have posted Paul’s quote below the one I posted :-). You were pretty much a wind up toy for teenagers too, though in a different way. The kids from church always felt at home in Momba’s lovely historic home – as did I!

      • P.S. you are one of the “someone else’s” that kids can borrow!

      • MaryAnn

        Your words fill my heart w/ joy! The memories of the Dentons in my home are as clear as if yesterday and very treasured! God was so good to me to send your lovely, loving family to us!

        • Yes, I have those same memories. Sometime before Christmas I hope to post a photo of our Magi Project ladies with their colorfully wrapped shoeboxes!

  6. Okay…no grandchildren here. Glad to know I can borrow yours. Let’s book the date. He’s beautiful. 🙂

    • Starr, thanks so much! I need to book a few dates with him myself!

  7. Sheila

    Julia, I think a Fisher Price camera is in order for little Grady! He certainly looks intent (and content 🙂 ) with the photographer. He is so adorable. We really do become their toys in the same instant that they become our joy.

    • Oh my, that would be the ultimate grandmotherly revenge. Drew was always complaining about me and my camera! I surely hope I get to see Grady again before he starts talking. I guess we need to figure out Skype soon!

  8. Carlyle

    I really enjoyed today’s blog as did your mother. I would have never imagined being a great-grandfather, But with the twins Andy and Heather are in the process of adopting, It appears we are going to have 7 great-grandchildren.

    • And thank goodness, finally another female! I guess you pretty much have to adopt to get a girl in this family, unless you’re good at beating the odds. Seven great-grandchildren is indeed something to celebrate!

  9. The dearest photo or what! Clearly Grady is very keen on Grandma (if that’s what you’re calling yourself). Perhaps Nan, Gran or Gran-nan are in the cards. In Ukrainian, we have a Baba. Which ever you choose, I’m so very happy for you and your family. Such a wonderful celebration in an otherwise challenging year!

    • Thanks, Boomdee! I love the Ukranian term! Grady will ultimately decide what to call me, but for now we’re going with the French mémé (which most people seem to pronounce Mimi rather than the way it’s accented). My mother is “Granny”and there is definitely only one of her! And Jeff’s mother is “Grandmother.” We’ll see what Grady comes up with. It might be “that strange old lady who talks a lot.” 🙂 Yes, Grady is a blessing in a difficult time, like a rose among thorns.

  10. oui, meme est enchanteur, bonne. “that strange old lady who talks a lot”, LOL you make me laugh. Grady will probably be talking circles around everyone in not too long. The unrelenting “why?” was always a fun challenge. You’re in for a ton of fun!

    • Oui, c’est vrai! Merci beaucoup.

  11. What a beautiful baby!! God bless him always.

    • Thank you Amy!

  12. Carolyn Miller

    What a wonderful picture of Grady. We are at Jennifer’s now and I can’t believe how tall the two kids are. Send you a note later. Love to all.

    • Hi Carolyn, thanks for checking in. Have fun visiting your family!

  13. Beautiful post. Nicely expressed the truth.

    • Thank you, I’m happy you liked it. I really miss seeing our grandson and wish we lived closer to him.


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